'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The total return over 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is 120.9%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (121.6%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return is 64.2%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 64.5% from the benchmark.

'The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (17.3%) in the period of the last 5 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 17.2% of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (18.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% is smaller, thus worse.

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (18.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 19.1% of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is higher, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (22.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 23.1% is greater, thus worse.

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the downside deviation of 13.8% in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.5%)
- Looking at downside deviation in of 16.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (16.4%).

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.77 in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.79)
- During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 0.67, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.69 from the benchmark.

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.07 in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (1.09)
- During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 0.93, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.95 from the benchmark.

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 5.61 in the last 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.58 )
- Compared with SPY (6.83 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 6.87 is greater, thus worse.

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -33.8 days of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -33.8 days is smaller, thus worse.

'The Maximum Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum days below previous high over 5 years of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is 139 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 139 days is larger, thus worse.

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (33 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 33 days of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is larger, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (35 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 34 days is lower, thus better.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Vanguard 500 Index Fund are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.